Herne Bay boss Sam Denly still hurting after heartbreaking midweek FA Trophy exit but must rebound for a Kent derby against Sittingbourne on Saturday.
Herne Bay are still hurting after their heartbreaking midweek FA Trophy exit but a Kent derby against Sittingbourne on Saturday means they have no time to feel sorry for themselves.
Emotions were running high in the Bay changing-room after Grays goals in the last minute of normal time and extra-time knocked them out of the Trophy on Tuesday night.
Manager Sam Denly was caught between praising his players’ efforts and criticising them for letting them game slip away.
And he believes a trip to face the Brickies is the ideal way to get the cup exit out of their system.
He said: “We’re playing some good stuff and the game can’t come quickly enough.
“It’s another big game and we go there full of confidence, although that’s been knocked slightly by the result on Tuesday.
“There’s been a little bit of turmoil at Sittingbourne, with the ground move and the change of management.
“But we don’t treat anyone lightly. People there will be trying to prove their worth to the new management team. We’ll be prepared.”
Denly’s biggest job will be to pick his players up after the crushing disappointment of the Grays defeat.
“I’m still getting over it,” he said. “I’m gutted for the club and for the players. Over the course of the two games, we deserved to win.
“It shows football can be cruel at times and this is one of the hardest ones I’ve had to deal with.
“I’ve played in similar games but it’s different when you’re the manager, looking from the outside. You go away thinking ‘what do we have to do?’
“We spoke in the changing-room afterwards but everyone was still a bit raw, including myself.
“Of course I complimented them but, as far as I’m concerned, why aren’t we winning these games?”
Joe Kennett and Gary Sayer are both suspended for the Sittingbourne game but Kane Phillip could make his return from injury.
Denly said: “The mark of a good team is how you respond. That’s my job as manager, to put an arm around them and pick their chins up.”
Herne Bay travel to Maidstone United in the Robert Dyas League Cup on Tuesday (7.45pm).
- Click here for more Canterbury news
- Click here for more news from across the county